Common Spicebush Lindera benzoin (Linnaeus) Blume    Synonyms: Lindera benzoin var. pubescens, Northern Pondspice, Spicebush, Wild Allspice.
Kingdom Plantae   >   Division Tracheophyta   >   Class Magnoliopsida   >   Order Laureles   >   Family Lauraceae   >   Genus Lindera   

Status:

Common Spicebush is native to much of eastern North America. It is a common, much-branched shrub of the understory across Maryland, especially in damp woods. Common Spicebush is one of the first woody plants to bloom in the spring. It is one of four members of the Laurel Family (Lauraceae) native to Maryland. Two of these four are highly state-rare (Swamp Bay and Pondspice). The third, Sassafras, is, like Spicebush, common in the state.

Description:

Leaves of Common Spicebush are obovate, oval, or elliptic, with entire margins. They increase in breadth from the base to the tip of the twig and are spicy-aromatic when crushed. The bark of twigs is also aromatic. Bark of larger stems is grayish-brown, with readily observed, pale, raised lenticels. Flower buds are small, lateral, and globular, and are evident all winter. The yellow flowers, which appear before the leaves, are arranged in small, dense, lateral clusters that make this plant stand out in early spring. The fruit is a bright red drupe.

Where to find:

Spicebush is common along streambanks and in moist woodlands and wetland margins.

Relationships:

Host plant for Spicebush Swallowtail and Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. Host plant for various species of moths including Promethea Moth and Spotted Apatelodes Moth.

There are 751 records in the project database.

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Common Spicebush in Kent Co., Maryland (9/5/2014). Photo by Nancy Martin. (MBP list)

Common Spicebush in Middlesex Co., New Jersey (10/25/2011). Photo by John Beetham. (MBP list)

Common Spicebush in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (4/12/2011). Photo by Bill Harms. (MBP list)

Common Spicebush blooming in Montgomery Co., Maryland (3/28/2016). Photo by Robert Ferraro. (MBP list)

Common Spicebush blooming in Montgomery Co., Maryland (3/18/2017). Photo by Ashley Bradford. (MBP list)

Common Spicebush in Talbot Co., Maryland (3/21/2017). Photo by Jared Satchell. (MBP list)

Common Spicebush blooming in Kent Co., Maryland (3/26/2016). Photo by Nancy Martin. (MBP list)

Common Spicebush in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (4/13/2014). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Common Spicebush blooming in Washington Co., Maryland (4/16/2016). Photo by Mark Etheridge. (MBP list)

Common Spicebush, new leaves, in Washington Co., Maryland (4/10/2016). Note the heavily lenticeled bark, typical of Spicebush. Photo by Bill Hill. (MBP list)

Common Spicebush blooming in Kent Co., Maryland (3/27/2016). Photo by Nancy Martin. (MBP list)

Common Spicebush in Talbot Co., Maryland (3/19/2016). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Common Spicebush in Talbot Co., Maryland (8/31/2016). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Common Spicebush growing in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (7/15/2019). Photo by Matthew Beziat. (MBP list)

Common Spicebush growing in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (9/1/2016). Photo by Tyler Bell. (MBP list)

Common Spicebush in fruit in Baltimore Co., Maryland (7/26/2018). Photo by Matthew Beziat. (MBP list)

Common Spicebush in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (8/24/2012). Photo by Bill Harms. (MBP list)

Common Spicebush in Prince George's Co., Maryland (9/17/2014). Photo by Regina Kreger. (MBP list)

Common Spicebush in early winter in Harford Co., Maryland (12/6/2015). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Common Spicebush in Baltimore Co., Maryland (3/11/2016). Photo by Kirsten Johnson. (MBP list)

Common Spicebush in Harford Co., Maryland (8/28/2016). Photo by Kirsten Johnson. (MBP list)

Common Spicebush in Montgomery Co., Maryland (4/2/2017). Photo by Robert Ferraro. (MBP list)

Common Spicebush (close-up) in Howard Co., Maryland (3/24/2017). Collected and photographed by Helen Lowe Metzman. Photo by USGS PWRC. (MBP list)

Common Spicebush in Baltimore City, Maryland (4/25/2019). (c) Clare Maffei, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Clare Maffei via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Common Spicebush in Baltimore Co., Maryland (6/1/2019). (c) Charlie Davis, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Charlie Davis. (MBP list)

Common Spicebush in Charles Co., Maryland (3/14/2020). (c) carriestaples, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by carriestaples via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Common Spicebush in Carroll Co., Maryland (4/11/2019). (c) Sabrina, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by sabrinapurtee via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Common Spicebush in Prince George's Co., Maryland (3/24/2020). (c) spyingnaturalist, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by spyingnaturalist via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Common Spicebush in Montgomery Co., Maryland (9/7/2020). (c) bugzilla, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by bugzilla via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Common Spicebush in Montgomery Co., Maryland (9/7/2020). (c) bugzilla, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by bugzilla via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Common Spicebush in Prince George's Co., Maryland (9/18/2023). (c) pam b, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by pam_b via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Common Spicebush (pistillate flower) in Howard Co., Maryland (3/24/2017). Collected and photographed by Helen Lowe Metzman. Photo by USGS PWRC. (MBP list)


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